Hello Football Fans! Week 1 is in the books and what a week it was!
We started Week 1 with the surprise blowout of the Chiefs over the Patriots where Alex Smith played like Tom Brady, and Kareem Hunt exploded and emerged as a stud running back.
The most obvious story lines of Week 1 are the extreme injuries to major Fantasy contributors. Of course, the David Johnson injury is the most substantial and those owners have an uphill battle the rest of the season. Injuries to Allen Robinson, Danny Woodhead, and even Kevin White caused Fantasy owners to scramble and look up their replacements. Sometimes Fantasy Football can be cruel and contingency plans are essential in order for you to succeed.
Hopefully, Week 2 will be better for the owners who suffered hits to their rosters. Let’s begin the recovery by looking at what Week 2 games could bring starting with the Thursday Night Football Game Preview.
Week 2 Game Preview And Fantasy Predictions
Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals (-5.5) Total Points: 40.5
Texans Defense vs. Bengals Offense
The Texans’ defense couldn’t stop the run as they allowed Jaguars’ rookie running back Leonard Fournette to rush for 100 yards on 26 carries and 155 yards overall. They also had zero sacks against Blake Bortles and forced zero turnovers. Additionally, five Texans were in the concussion protocol on Monday. Head Coach Bill O’Brien said he didn’t expect any of the players to suit up on the short week. Houston will be without linebacker Brian Cushing given his suspension for 10 games due PED, his second of his career.
Cincinnati was the only team in action last week that failed to record a point, getting shut out 20-0 at home against the Baltimore Ravens. It was the first time they were shut out at home since 2001. Andy Dalton had the worst numbers of any quarterback in Week 1 by throwing four interceptions and completing 16-of-31 pass attempts for 170 yards and a 28.4 passer rating. He also had a fumble on one of his five sacks.
The Bengals need to establish a run game in order to set the tone Thursday night. However, in Week 1 against the Ravens, the Bengals rushed 21 times for only 75 yards as they split carries between Giovani Bernard, Jeremy Hill, and Joe Mixon. Good luck guessing which RB will get the ball. The Bengals need to decide who is the most talented back. Having multiple running backs split equal time rarely works, especially when your team’s quarterback barely completes 50 percent of his passes. Fantasy owners want and need to see how this is going to shake out.
The Texans aren’t nearly as strong at safety as they are at corner, which means Tyler Eifert could be a playmaker Thursday night, especially in the red zone.
Bengals Defense vs. Texans Offense
Houston quarterback Tom Savage struggled so much in the Texans’ first game that he was benched in favor of rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson. The offensive line looks like it could be a huge problem for Houston all season. The line failed to open up running lanes for Lamar Miller and the Jaguars afflicted 10 sacks against the Texans’ quarterbacks.
On Tuesday, O’Brien announced that Deshaun Watson will make his first NFL start on Thursday against the Bengals. He provided a spark for the offense and led the Texans’ only touchdown drive on Sunday to start the second half. Watson is more equipped to play behind a weak offensive line.
If the Texans continue to struggle to stop the pass rush, they’ll need to rely more on running back Lamar Miller to lessen the pressure on the quarterback. They would love to get Miller going to help Watson feel more comfortable. They should be able to do it against a Bengals’ defense that allowed 157 yards on the ground to Baltimore.
DeAndre Hopkins should be the one player that the Texans can count on. Expect the Bengals to have double coverage on Hopkins almost every pass play. Hopkins was targeted a game-high 16 times in Week 1 and finished with seven receptions for 55 yards and one touchdown.
The Texans’ offense is suffering through a boatload of injuries, including all of their tight end options. This allow Hopkins to get the heavy-duty work in the passing game even more than he normally does.
The Bengals’ defense was atrocious in Week 1 but were missing defensive studs Vontez Burfict and Adam Jones due to suspensions. Adam Jones will be back after missing the first game but Burfict is still out.
Houston and Cincinnati both put together two of the worst home performances of Week 1.
Dalton is a proven NFL starter, something the Texans don’t have on their roster. Deshaun Watson might be the franchise QB the Texans need, but a road win over a veteran team on a short week in his first start might be too much to ask. Watson doesn’t have to be great, or even that good, in order for the Texans to potentially upset the Bengals. He just has to avoid making big mistakes while the defense does its job.
If Andy Dalton has no time to throw, he could struggle again. Dalton is 1-2 in his career against Houston with just three touchdown passes and a 79.2 passer rating. Last season, the Bengals lost to Houston 12-10, but they would have won had kicker Randy Bullock made a field goal attempt at the buzzer.
I think Watt and Clowney make it a long night for Dalton and lead the Texans to a narrow victory.
Prediction: Houston Texans 20, Cincinnati Bengals 14
Player Fantasy Grades
QB – Deshaun Watson: D
RB – Lamar Miller: C
WR – DeAndre Hopkins: A
WR – Braxton Miller: D
QB – Andy Dalton: C-
RB – Joe Mixon: D
RB – Jeremy Hill: C
RB – Giovani Bernard: C
WR – A.J. Green: A
WR – Brandon LaFell: D
WR – Tyler Boyd: D
TE – Tyler Eifert: C